My brother is 20 years old and goes to school down in Southwest VA. He is now being charged with a class 1 misdemeanor 18.2-137 (Intentionally destroying property that is worth less than $1,000). Unfortunately my brother was under the influence of alcohol at the time the supposed damage occurred and therefore never talked to the owner of the damaged property. Would it be a bad idea for me to go and try to talk to the student to discuss the damage and possibly just pay the owner the money owed for damage? Therefore, we can avoid going to court for the matter.
Offering restitution is always helpful, but it should come through his attorney. If he doesn't have an attorney he should get one ASAP. There is a provision of in Virginia law for "Accord and Satisfaction" which may apply but this will require coordination between the victim, your brother and the Commonwealth's Attorney.
§ 19.2-151. Satisfaction and discharge of assault and similar charges.
When a person is in jail or under a recognizance to answer a charge of assault and battery or other misdemeanor, or has been indicted for an assault and battery or other misdemeanor for which there is a remedy by civil action, unless the offense was committed (i) by or upon any law-enforcement officer, (ii) riotously in violation of §§ 18.2-404 to 18.2-407, (iii) against a family or household member in violation of § 18.2-57.2, or (iv) with intent to commit a felony, if the person injured appears before the court which made the commitment or took the recognizance, or before the court in which the indictment is pending, and acknowledges in writing that he has received satisfaction for the injury, the court may, in its discretion, by an order, supersede the commitment, discharge the recognizance, or dismiss the prosecution, upon payment by the defendant of costs accrued to the Commonwealth or any of its officers.
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Yes, this is definitely an option. But in order to negotiate the resolution of the property damage claim to obtain a dismissal of the criminal charge, your brother should work with his attorney to prepare an accord and satisfaction to submit to the court. If he is not represented by counsel, I do recommend he follow up with somebody to assist.
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